Dogs in Autumn: Here are 5 expert tips on how to dog-proof your home for autumn - including cleaning hacks 🐶

Muddy paws are one of the challenges that face dog owners in autumn.Muddy paws are one of the challenges that face dog owners in autumn.
Muddy paws are one of the challenges that face dog owners in autumn.

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We are now officially in autumn – with colder and shorter days ahead.

There are a number of changes we make around the home at the start of autumn to prepare for the upcoming cold and wet weather, from finding ways to make the house warmer to adding more seasonal interiors.

However there are a few additional changes for dog owners to consider, in order to both keep their home clean and protect the wellbeing of their furry friend throughout the colder months.

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The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of extra work for pet owners to keep their houses clean and their dogs safe if they prepare for these seasonal changes.

And pet care experts Bob Martin have come up with a series of crafty tips on how you can 'dog-proof’ your home for the upcoming autumn and winter months.

Chris Socratous, Brand Manager at Bob Martin, explained: "Any dog owner knows that even one small dog can being a whole lot of mess into the home. And this is especially the case in colder months, thanks to the damp weather leading to muddy, wet fur. By getting ahead and preparing for the inevitable matted fur and all the shedding, you can keep your home clean and your pet safe and comfortable.

"It’s always a good idea to start at the source of the mess - your dog. By keeping them clean and grooming them well, you can reduce the amount of dirt they bring to the home. Shedding hair is a common complaint from pet owners this time of year, so make sure to brush your dog regularly to catch this fur before it falls throughout the house. A coat oil can also help by moisturising your dog’s skin, as pet’s with dry skin can shed even more.”

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Here are the tips you should be following for a happy, clean and healthy dog-friendly autumn.

Keeping your dog clean

One of the best ways to both keep your dog comfortable and your home in a good condition is keeping your dog clean. As the weather becomes damper and the ground becomes muddier, now is a particularly important time to focus on keeping your pet well groomed. As well as frequent cleaning, by trimming their nails and the fur on their paws and between their paw pads, you can prevent mud building up too much in these areas.

You may also want to set up a pet cleaning station somewhere outside or at the front of the house to clean your pet off after muddy walks. Not only will this prevent them from decorating the house with their muddy pawprints, but leaving mud on your pet for a while can lead to skin issues, so it’s important to clean them off straight away. Set up your cleaning station somewhere with access to warm running water, like a utility room or a downstairs bathroom, and dry them well afterwards to prevent skin infections and pneumonia.

Although not common with all dogs, you may find that your pet sheds more around this time of year. While shedding is usually associated with spring and early summer to prepare for the warm weather, many also shed their lightweight summer coats at this time of year for this thinner fur to be replaced by a warmer winter coat. You can help them with this process whilst protecting your interiors from gathering excess pet hair by regularly brushing your dog well to remove the excess hair. Depending on your dog’s coat and the amount they are shedding, aim to do this every one to three days.

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Choosing dog-friendly interiors

The changing of the seasons is the perfect time to refresh your interiors. If you’re choosing to do some updates at this time of year, it may be worth doing so with your dog in mind. For example, when adding new soft furnishings, you may want to choose materials which are easily washable, like cotton and wool. It’s a good idea to also consider the colours of any new home additions in rooms where your dog will be staying. While a white rug may look beautiful, there’s a chance that it won’t stay looking so bright if you have a dog! Darker shades can hide potential stains, and they can look cosier too which is just what we want at this time of year.

Even if you aren’t updating your interiors, there are still a few ways to protect the ones you already have from mess. For example, if you allow your dog to sit on the sofa or a chair, have an old blanket handy before they hop up so you can protect the furniture from their shedding fur. And by simply adding a doggy doormat at your front and back door, you can reduce the risk of muddy paw prints in the home. Choose one that will be comfortable for your pet’s paws so they don’t avoid it altogether, such as a microfiber doggy doormat.

Have a mud cleaning solution at the ready

No matter how well you groom your dog and try to prevent the inevitable, there’s always a chance that you’ll find mud from your pet somewhere in your house at this time of year. So get prepared by having a go-to mud cleaning solution in your back pocket beforehand.

One of the best ways to deal with mud stains in carpet is to use a vinegar and washing up liquid solution. Add a tablespoon of washing up liquid to a cup of white vinegar and rub the mixture onto the stain gently with a brush. Then simply rinse the stain with cold water using a sponge, and repeat the process until the stain is gone, before drying it with a towel.

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You can also use white vinegar to clean painted walls if your messy pup manages to get mud on them. Add around 230ml of white vinegar to a bucket of warm water and very gently dab the stains with a soft sponge until the dirt lifts. Cleaning walls can always be risky however, as you may strip the paint. Before doing so, always test the solution on a small area hidden behind a piece of furniture before committing to the cleaning.

Remove pet hair with lint roller and old socks

While your dog’s shedding can be partly tackled by grooming them well, you’re still likely to come across excess fur around the house. Most pet owners already have a lint roller for their clothes, and this can be used to pick up fur from furniture too, like sofas, armchairs, and even rugs and carpet.

If you have a pair of old sports socks you were planning on getting rid of, you can give them a new life as they can also be useful for cleaning pet hair. Simply pop them on your hands inside out and wipe over the areas with a lot of pet hair. To make it even more effective, you can slightly dampen the sock to catch more fur. You can also sometimes use an old sports sock directly on your pet if they hate being brushed, although you should still make sure to supplement this with a good brush every once in a while.

Look at the ingredients in your cleaning supplies

As you’ll likely find yourself cleaning a lot over the autumn and winter months, it’s vital to make sure that the products you’re using are safe for pets. Some cleaning solutions contain chemicals which are hazardous for dogs, one of the most commonly found being ammonia. Inhalation of ammonia can irritate your pet’s eyes, nose, and throat, and ingesting it can cause severe stomach problems. You can find it often in floor cleaners, surface cleaners, wood cleaners, and glass cleaners, so always make sure to check the label before buying one of these. Fortunately there are now many ammonia-free options of these cleaners available, and some popular brands even have ammonia-free cleaning lines.

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Bleach is another damaging substance which can lead to respiratory issues in dogs from inhalation. If ingested the cleaning solution will obviously lead to much worse harm, including vomiting, diarrhoea, and even seizures. If you’re looking for an alternative, vinegar is a natural replacement that isn’t toxic to dogs, as is baking soda. But on the occasions when only bleach will do, you can use it by diluting it in water and keeping the dog out of the room until the smell of the substance is long gone. When it comes to storing it, make sure it’s completely out of reach of your pet in your highest cupboard.

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